NFL Week 11 Recap: NFC East

Finally, the Dallas Cowboys got their starting quarterback back and they beat the Miami Dolphins.

Finally, the Dallas Cowboys got their starting quarterback back and they beat the Miami Dolphins.

Finally, the Dallas Cowboys got their starting quarterback back and they beat the Miami Dolphins.

Known for his elusiveness when confronted by a number of would-be tacklers, Tony Romo apparently was just what the doctor ordered to help the boys end a seven-game losing streak.

He finished with 18 completions on 28 attempts for 227 yards, two touchdowns, and two interceptions His two scoring throws were a 31-yarder to Terrance Williams and a 16-yarder to Dez Bryant.

The Cowboys’ defense was also big contributors. For example, linebacker Rolando McClain opened the scoring with a 12-yard pick six, which was his first career touchdown.

Of course, Romo showed a little rust and the weather –- heavy rain and gusty winds that occurred early in the game –- certainly didn’t help.

The Dolphins defense didn’t seem to be aware that this first game was Romo’s coming out party as they stopped his first attempt to score. The drive ended with a sack on a blitz and the pass being intercepted.

However, Romo showed why he’s different than most quarterbacks later in the game when he tossed a pass with his left-hand. Cowboys’ running back Darren McFadden contributed as he rushed for 129 yards, which was his second-best game of the season. New boys running back Robert Turbin, who joined the team on Wednesday, added 35-yards on seven carries.

The Cowboys got their first score after an 8-1/2 minute drive that was helped with a third-down holding call on Dolphins cornerback Jamar Taylor that allowed the boys to continue on with their drive. Taylor was later beaten on a long pass from Romo to Williams.

In addition, Bryant beat a linebacker and safety in the fourth quarter that put the Cowboys in front to stay. It was the 50th touchdown pass for the duo of Romo and Bryant, which broke the team record for a quarterback-receiver combo. The drive lasted for 5-1/2 minutes.

Both Williams and Bryant were flagged 15-yards for excessive celebration, which was assessed on the kickoff. Cowboys’ kicker Dan Bailey made a poor kickoff that gave the Dolphins a short field. A 47-yard completion from Tannehill to Jarvis Landry set up the touchdown pass to Jordan Cameron with 16 seconds remaining in the half.

The Dolphins possessed the ball for only 21 minutes and were able to convert on only one third down play out of 10. Lamar Miller gained 44 yards on just seven carries for the Dolphins. This is a significant occurrence because the fish are 0-6 when Miller has less than 12 carries.

Tannehill threw touchdown passes of 12-yards to Jordan Cameron and 29-yards to Kenny Stills.

The Cowboys are undefeated this season when Romo quarterbacks. However, he was out for seven weeks during which backups Brandon Weeden and Matt Cassel lost seven consecutive games. Is it too late for the Cowboys or can Romo pull off a miracle? The NFC East isn’t the best division in the NFL this year, so no one can be sure that the Cowboys couldn’t make a run that could cap off with another NFC East title. COWBOYS 24 DOLPHINS 14

A reason why the Cowboys can’t be counted out in the NFC East is because two other members of the division lost and the New York Giants took their bye.

The Philadelphia Eagles lost to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers partially because Bucs’ running back Doug Martin had a career day rushing for 235 yards and rookie QB Jameis Winston tossed five touchdown passes, which tied an NFL rookie record.

Martin actually gained 177 yards in the first half including runs of 84 yards and 58 yards. He was only two yards short of Barry Sanders’ record for most yards without a touchdown. Sanders rushed for 237 yards for the Lions against the Buccaneers in 1994.

The Buccaneers finished the game with a franchise record 283 rushing yards and a total of 521 yards of offense, second most in franchise history for a regular season game. The offense totaled 573 yards in a game in 1980. The Bucs’ offense was also successful on third down conversions with nine out of 12. Moreover, Winston’s last three TD passes came on a third down play.

An offside penalty on Eagles linebacker Brandon Graham gave the Bucs another chance to convert a third down in the first quarter. Martin rushed for 58 yards, and then Mike Evans caught a 4-yard TD pass.

Winston threw a 17-yard screen pass to Charles Sims on third and six to extend a drive, hit Evans for 25 yards and capped the drive on a 13-yard touchdown pass to Vincent Jackson.

Backup quarterback Mark Sanchez had to replace starter Sam Bradford for the Eagles. He threw two touchdown passes, but gave up three interceptions.

Sanchez threw a screen pass to Darren Sproles that ended with a 35-yard touchdown. He also threw two interceptions; the ninth time he has done so. BUCCANEERS 45 EAGLES 17

You could say that the Washington Redskins were their own worst enemy in their loss to the Carolina Panthers.

At first, it looked like the game would be a shoot out.

On the Redskins first drive, QB Kirk Cousins started off with a short pass to Pierre Garcon for 13-yards to the Washington 36 and a short pass to Jordan Reed for 7-yards putting the ball on the Washington 41 yard line. However, in an attempt to hit DeSean Jackson, who was wide open in the middle of the field, Cousins instead threw an interception that was returned to the Washington 31.

The Panthers scored on a three-play drive that finished with a 12-yard touchdown pass from Cam Newton to Jonathan Stewart.

On the next series, Cousins led a three-play drive that ended in a 56-yard touchdown pass to DeSean Jackson.

Newton then led a 16-play drive starting on the Carolina 22 that ended with a 3-yard touchdown pass from Newton to Mike Tolbert.

On the ensuing kickoff, Andre Roberts ran 99 yards for a touchdown.

After three-and-out series by both the Panthers and Redskins, Newton led a 10-pay drive that included an apparent 75-yard pick six by Redskins cornerback Chris Culliver. Culliver struck receiver Greg Olsen with his shoulder then with his arm high near his head as Olsen lowered his head preparing for the hit, he bobbled the ball and Culliver caught it and dashed in for the apparent score. However, Culliver was flagged for unnecessary roughness and the Panthers retained the ball on the Redskins 46-yard line. Five plays later Newton hit Ted Ginn Jr. for a 2-yard score.

The Redskins never recovered. They fumbled the ball on three consecutive drives and the Panthers scored two touchdowns and a field goal.

Cousins finished with 22 completions on 30 attempts for 207 yards, a touchdown, one interception and two fumbles. He was sacked five times.

The Redskins running game was nonexistent. They could only muster 14 yards –- Chris Thompson rushed for 10-yards on four carries; Alfred Morris gained no yards on two attempts and Matt Jones gained no yards on five attempts and also fumbled.

DeSean Jackson caught five passes for 87 yards and a touchdown; Jordan Reed caught six passes for 46 yards and he fumbled once.

Newton finished with 21 completions on 34 attempts for 246 yards and five touchdowns. He was sacked twice.

Stewart rushed for 102 yards on 21 attempts; Deven Funchess caught four passes for 64 yards and a touchdown; Jerricho Cotchery caught four passes for 57 yards; Olsen caught three passes for 54 yards and one touchdown and Ted Ginn caught five passes for 37 yards and a touchdown. Steward caught 1 pass for a 12-yard score; and Mike Tolbert caught two passes, one for a touchdown. PANTHERS 44 REDSKINS 16
NFC EAST STANDINGS                         Overall                     Division
 NEW YORK GIANTS                                  5-5                              2-2
WASHINGTON REDSKINS                     4-6                             1-1
PHILADELPHIA EAGLES                        4-6                             2-2
DALLAS COWBOYS                                   3-7                              2-2
EAGLES @ LIONS                                    NOVEMBER 26, 2015
PANTHERS @ COWBOYS                    NOVEMBER 26, 2015
GIANTS @ REDSKINS                           NOVEMBER 29, 2015
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